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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 1, 2016 6:30pm-7:31pm EST

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hotel to blame for giving erin andrews stalker access? breaking news tonight. we're minutes from the first poll closures as voters in a dozen states have their say. a dramatic night in the race for president as donald trump and hillary clinton try to pull away from the pack. also tonight, high-stakes showdune as the fight between apple and the fbi moves from the courtroom to congress. new twists in a battle that has major implications on your privacy and national security. living a nightmare. an emotional erin andrews back on the stand describing the daily horror she endures after being secretly taped. what she does when she enters a hotel room now. a wild chase. a kidnapping suspect at large after a police pursuit, kids in the car. tonight the manhunt to find him. "nightly news" begins right now.
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good evening from lex headquarters on super tuesday, a night that could be the tipping point in both the republican and democratic races for the presidential nomination. 12 states are in play tonight with the first poll closings just a half hour from now. but ahead of that, we have a new snapshot of the state of the race nationally. republican donald trump has a 2-1 lead over marco rubio, who's now in second place, according to a new nbc news/survey monkey poll. democrats, hillary clinton with a 10-point lead nationally over bernie sanders. will she pull away from sanders for good? will trump close the deal tonight? there's an awful lot to cover. our team is in place. let's start with the trump campaign and nbc's katy tur. >> reporter: another dramatic entrance for what's shaping up to be a dramatic super tuesday.
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trump is riding high. chris christie by his side. and brushing off the insults. >> he said i had small hands? they're not small, are they? i've always had people say, donald, you have the boast beautiful hands. >> reporter: nine months ago his unconventional campaign and the outsider is poised for a blowout. confident enough to call on marco rubio to quit on fox news. >> i think he has to get out. you know, he hasn't won anything. ted cruz very rightfully points out marco has not won. >> reporter: if trump wins big tonight there is already talk he might refuse to take part in future gop debates. the next on thursday in detroit moderated by fox news and megyn kelly who trump has repeatedly trashed for reciting his own words back to him during the first debate. the campaign telling nbc news it hasn't even thought about thursday yet. but that there is a lot of speculation about who will be on stage. trump late today saying he won't skip it. >> no, i'm not going to skip it.
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but i think these debates are ridiculous. >> donald trump has played by his own rules since he started this campaign last summer. should he not choose to play by them now i don't think we should be surprised. >> reporter: the bombastic millionaire promising to turn to the general election and hillary clinton. >> hillary cannot make america great. she was talking about something yesterday, making america whole. whole. no, no. i don't want whole. i want great again. i want great again. i don't want whole. >> reporter: meanwhile, the grand old party is worried about its grand old legacy. after trump failed to immediately condemn the kkk over the weekend. >> if a person wants to be the nominee of the republican party there can be no evasion and no games. they must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. >> reporter: ryan said he will support whomever the party nominates but gop sources tell nbc news there is real concern about how the candidate and his staff will cooperate with the party. and whether he'll quit calling
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people losers and start acting more presidential. to put it into perspective, that is campaign that started out with little organization and no backing from the republican establishment. a campaign that many called a joke. despite all of that and despite all the drama, donald trump is expected to run away with the majority of delegates in 11 states tonight. >> all right, katy. if trump dominates as many suspect the most suspenseful storyline of the night may be the republican race for second place. both marco rubio and ted cruz are competing to be the face of the anti-trump effort within their party. as nbc's hallie jackson reports both campaigns believe they have viable pathways to the nomination. >> how are you feeling? >> reporter: ted cruz can't afford a misstep here, voting today in his houston hometown. >> how do you feel? >> i feel very good. we've got tremendous support at home in texas. >> reporter: it's the biggest super tuesday prize, 155 delegates where cruz leads and
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needs a win. also watching arkansas. >> if you think -- >> reporter: spending more money there in the last 24 hours. his campaign privately acknowledging to nbc they're all but conceding vermont, massachusetts, and virginia. >> why should i cast my vote for you instead of donald trump? >> reporter: cruz's argument to voters like cindy that trump has a ceiling. 60% of republicans opposed to him. >> by that same logic, 80% of republicans are not backing you. 85%. >> it is qualitatively different. >> why? >> donald trump loses the general election and republicans recognize that -- >> reporter: cruz wants a two-man race by tomorrow. but won't get it. with marco rubio in the mix. >> i will campaign in all 50 states -- >> reporter: he's again shifting his strategy against trump, not below the belt now -- >> you know what they say about men with small hands. >> reporter: but above the fray. >> donald trump has small hands! >> we're not talking about that
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today. i want this to be a serious election -- >> reporter: his aides telling nbc rubio wants to focus on more serious warnings, calling trump dangerous. the florida senator hasn't won anywhere yet and probably won't tonight unless he pulls off shocking upsets in virginia or minnesota. >> he needs to get his fair share of second places. >> reporter: even if rubio drops 15 in a row his campaign's looking to the 15th of march where he has to win his home state. john kasich needs a win in his home state too. ohio in two weeks. he's already looking past super tuesday. but ben carson is not. on political life support, a top campaign aide acknowledging how important these primaries are to carson's future. the bigger storyline, that's cruz, rubio, and this showdown for second as they hope to prove one of them can slow down donald trump. >> we're joined by nbc news political analyst nicole wallace. if trump wins in a big way tonight will sound we hear be
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the sound of the republican party fracturing? >> i think the republican party is already fractured along the lines hallie laid out. cruz represents and the people hoping for cruz to have a strong night, win his home state, represent those that feel trump is inadequately -- not conservative enough. rubio represents the last best hope of the establishment. all the warring, excitement and momentum is behind donald trump and what he's captivated in this republican electorate. >> thanks very much, good to have you on. turning to democratic race, hillary clinton also expected to have a very big night. her campaign hopes that tonight spells the beginning of the end for opponent bernie sanders. as our andrea mitchell reports clinton is already looking ahead to the general election and sharpening her attacks against donald trump. >> reporter: trying to run up the score, front-runner hillary clinton today in minnesota, a bernie sanders stronghold. >> i need your help with the caucus tonight. >> reporter: bill clinton in boston challenging sanders in the new england senator's backya backyard.
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the clintons tag teaming sanders, trying to put the nomination beyond his reach. meanwhile sanders voting this morning in his home state of vermont where he's expected to coast to victory. >> i know that bernie sanders here in vermont got at least one vote. i was working on my wife but i think i probably got two. >> reporter: no matter tonight's result, sanders vows to fight clinton all the way to the convention. he's got the cash to do it, raising more than $41 million in the last month alone. mostly from small online contributions. thousands turning out yesterday for his rally in massachusetts where the race is tightening. >> your state led the american revolution. now it is time for massachusetts to lead the political revolution. >> reporter: but clinton with overwhelming support from african-american voters is counting on a southern firewall tonight. she has a commanding lead in texas, tennessee, and georgia. according to our nbc news/"wall
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street journal"/maris poll, already confident enough about the nomination to start focusing as well on donald trump. >> i'm just speaking out against bigotry and bullying wherever i hear it. >> reporter: campaign officials telling nbc news the strategy against trump includes hitting him early and often, portraying him as dangerous and bigoted because of his comments on race and ethnic minorities, energizing minority voters to turn out for her. clinton already testing new attack lines against trump. >> you know, america never stopped being great. we've got to make america whole. >> reporter: trump is threatening to turn the campaign into a knife fight. >> i guarantee you one thing, we're going to be talking about those e-mails every moment of every day. >> the clintons know that donald trump does not play by the rules but the clintons are also known for their tough campaigning. so if clinton and trump become their parties' nominees, you ain't seen nothing yet, lester. >> well put, andrea, thank you. we're joined by chuck todd and
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savannah guthrie, joining super tuesday coverage in primetime. chuck, i'm always curious what you're going to be watching tonight. >> let me start with the republican super tuesday map here. there's really four states i'm watching. early on it's going to be virginia. it should be a competitive race tonight. can marco rubio do well with the most-informed electorate in the country? then arrange, oklahoma, texas. ted cruz has to do well. if there are going to be places cruz and rubio can beat trump it is in these four states. that's why i think they matter the most. let's move on the democratic side of the super tuesday map. it's slightly different. there's basically a north-south strategy. in the south it's about hillary clinton, she expects to do well, minority voters. where sanders hopes to have better nights is in the northern states, fewer minority voters, we'll see. i think the targeting, he may have missed opportunities in a couple of southern states. we have learned a couple of things from the exit polls. experience versus outsider. what's interesting on the republican night, not surprising, want for an outsider
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presidential candidate, half of republicans in all the super tuesday states said shouldn't that. only 40% want experience. on the democratic side, 80% want an experienced next president versus an outsider. that's good news for hillary clinton. >> let me turn to savannah. you've been working the phones for the campaigns. rubio and cruz, what do they see as the pathway out of super tuesday? >> they see two different paths ironically they'll see a path without the other and they're focused on that even though both have fired on trump more in the last few days and weeks than they had before. rubio has said it plainly and his advisers repeat it behind the scenes, he's it in all the way. they think he has the money. they think this whole part of the republican party that is mortified that trump could be the nominee will come to them. troouls thinks, i'm going to win texas tonight. hoping to pick up a couple of border states and cobble together enough delegates to challenge trump. rubio's folks are ready to go all the way to the convention. >> good to see both of you. you'll be with me on our 10:00
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primetime broadcast. we'll have live updates throughout the night as results come in. i'll be joined by chuck and savannah and our entire team across the country starting at 10:00 p.m. eastern with all the breaking news. the battle between apple and the fbi reached all the way to capitol hill today. apple is fighting the fbi's demand to help unlock an iphone used by one of the san bernardino attackers. as our pete williams explains, both are asking congress to play referee and find an answer. >> if you would please rise i'll begin by swearing you in -- >> reporter: the fbi director faced a skeptical house judiciary committee over requiring apple write special software to help the fbi unlock an iphone used by one of the san bernardino attackers. >> essentially we're asking apple, take the vicious guard dog away, let us try and pick the lock. >> reporter: comey said the fbi asked every part of the u.s. government to crack the phone and concluded only apple health the key. >> when has it been the function
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of government to compel or force a private citizen or a company to act as an agent of the government to do what the government couldn't do? >> reporter: apple's top lawyer warned if the fbi gets what it wants the software to disable an iphone security could get into the wrong hands. >> we think that protecting the security and the privacy of hundreds of millions of iphone users is the right thing to do. that's the reason that we're doing this. >> reporter: but some committee members worried about phones keeping evidence out of the reach of law enforcement. >> you can go into people's bodies and remove bullets but you can't go into a dead person's iphone and remove data? i just find it baffling. >> reporter: the federal judge in brooklyn has ruled for apple in a battle over access to a drug dealer's locked iphone, saying the government cannot force apple to bypass the security measure it markets to its customers. something the judge said would be plainly offensive to the company. for now apple is on a roll, a win in court, its stock price up. next the san bernardino court
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hearing in three weeks. pete williams, nbc news, washington. >> there's a lot more ahead tonight. back on the stand, more emotional testimony from erin andrews. the trauma she still feels years after a stalker secretly taped her. the defense firing back suggesting the incident actually helped her career. also police say he led them on a chase in a hummer holding children hostage. but he slipped away. now the manhunt is ♪ i built my business with passion. but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy for my studio. ♪ and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means thousands of dollars each year going back into my business... that's huge for my bottom line. what's in your wallet? i've when your allergy symptoms start... clear for 14 days. ...doctors recommend taking one claritin
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reporter erin andrews took the stand to testify in her $75 million civil trial. today the defense got its chance to cross examine andrews. she is suing both her convicted stalker and the hotel where he admits secretly videotaping her. andrews told the jury it's a trauma she has never recovered from. nbc's morgan radford has more. >> reporter: another emotional day on the stand. >> i know i'm not fine. >> reporter: erin andrews describes the daily nightmare of that secretly taped viral video and the therapy she still needs. >> always have to go get treatment for this, always go need to talk to somebody about this. because this will always be on the internet. >> reporter: she was particularly emotional when describing what could eventually happen when she has kids. >> what happens when my kids come home from school, "mom, kids are saying you're naked on the internet." >> reporter: traumatized, andrews says she now does a thorough sweep of every hotel room. >> i look everywhere. i look for lights, i look for red lights, i look to see if there's cameras.
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>> reporter: her testimony complete. >> the manufacturer rin andrews rests her case. >> reporter: it's up to the defense to make their case. first up former employer espn. >> do you see her suffer in any way as a result of the actions of mr. barrett? >> no. >> reporter: the hotel's legal team trying to convince the jury -- seven women and five men -- that the hotel shouldn't pay for a video that wasn't their fault and that didn't damage her career. >> your income has gone up substantially since this occurred. >> reporter: andrews argued back saying the work is her escape. >> i've been overcompensating in my life and i admit that. i feel likefy can do the top nfl game, if i can work the world series, if i can pass out the trophy -- then people will forget. >> reporter: but, she says, shouldn'ts the jury to remember. morgan radford, nbc news, nashville. when we come back, after nearly a year in orbit a record-breaking space odyssey for an ame
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in southern california, an intense manhunt is under way for a kidnapping suspect who took police on an hours-long pursuit while holding his girlfriend and her children captive. police tailed the man across the los angeles area during rush hour monday before he escaped on foot on a rugged hillside. even though he was surrounded by officers. nbc's miguel almaguer has the wild details. >> the driver may be armed -- >> reporter: the 40-mile chase started during rush hour. >> you can run but you can't hide. >> reporter: a low-speed pursuit but this was high drama. >> whthis vehicle is stolen wit kids inside -- >> reporter: police say the driver thomas wano kidnapped his
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girlfriend and two young children, a domestic dispute playing out on one of the nation's busiest freeways, i-5, endangering the public over five hours. >> he's not going to get very far. >> reporter: onlookers with cameras when the pursuit comes to an end in affluent newport beach, the suspect holding up this 1-year-old. finally the women and children able to run towards police as wano flees into the night. the suspect is shot with nonlethal rounds. >> the suspect in a hoodie comes running up and says, i'm hit, i'm hit. >> reporter: he escapes. slips through the dragnet into the night. today it's a manhunt. but like this chase police say it's only a matter of time before they have their man. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. after spending nearly a year in space, astronaut scott kelly is coming back home. scott departed earlier from the international space station where he set an american record for longest single space mission. he'll finally set foot back on earth with all its gravity late this evening.
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when i interviewed kelly last week he said the thing he missed most about home was human contact. when we come back, more on super tuesday when tom brokaw joins us. amid all the insults and attacks in this campaign my belly pain and constipation? i've heard it all. eat more fiber. flax seeds. yogurt. get moving. keep moving. i know! try laxatives. been there, done that. my chronic constipation keeps coming back. i know. tell me something i don't know. vo: linzess works differently from laxatives. linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. it can help relieve your belly pain, and lets you have more frequent and complete bowel movements that are easier to pass. do not give linzess to children under six and it should not be given to children six to seventeen. it may harm them. don't take linzess if you have a bowel blockage. get immediate help if you develop unusual or severe stomach pain, especially with bloody or black stools. the most common side effect is diarrhea sometimes severe.
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we're just moments away from the first poll closings on this super tuesday. we're joined by tom brokaw. we've talked about the insults, the personal attacked, the anger. is that the only thing driving thing tonight as we head into super tuesday? >> i think it's driving a lot of it. we've seen how well donald trump has done as the most unconventional candidate i can remember who could be the front-runner. the speaker of the house, a republican, and the senate majority leader, another republican, condemned him for his remarks about the ku klux klan or rather his remarks not against the ku klux klan. the question is did the country care about that? they were establishment politicians. one of the things i'm going to be looking at tonight is whether that anger quota stays up as high as it is. the other thing is not just who wins tonight but who stays in the race. >> a lot of republicans would like to clean this on it a little bit but there is the
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possibility tomorrow morning we'll still have a full team back in there with just enough to hang on at the bottom to keep this thing going for a while and that works in trump's favor. >> we'll look forward to it throughout the evening. thanks very much. that's going to conclude our first half hour of "nightly news." for many of our stations we'll continue another half hour of special coverage. and we're back on the air at 10:00 p.m. eastern across the country with all the breaking results. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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decision 2016 super tuesday update. >> hello, the polls have now closed in three states on this super tuesday. let's walk you through what we know at this hour. let's start with the republicans in georgia. nbc news projects donald trump wins in georgia. in virginia, republican side the race is too close to call but based on early exit polls, trump and rubio are vying for first place. again, that's virginia. in vermont, republican race too early to call. let's look at the democrats now. in georgia, nbc news projects hillary clinton is the winner in georgia. in virginia, nbc news again projects hillary clinton will win.
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vermont, bernie sanders' home state, we project he will win in vermont. bernie sanders wins the vermont democratic primary. chuck todd is with me right now. your first thoughts as the evening begins? >> i think the bill surprise is virginia republicans, too close to call, good news for marco rubio. if there was a state that he had a shot at winning it was virginia. moderate electorate. anybody can vote in the primary and there's a lot of evidence a lot of democrats may have turned out to help rubio in virginia. so a big deal. if you're ted cruz and marco rubio you're not happy about that georgia result. the fact that we could call that poll closed that's a big win for trump, a premonition of what arkansas and alabama could look like. >> we'll be looking at four more states. we'll have closings coming up at 8:00 eastern time. and of course we'll be back on as we characterize those races for you. you see alabama, massachusetts, oklahoma, tennessee will be up next. i'm lester holt at nbc news
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election headquarters. we'll see you a bit later on. we are back with our continuing "nightly news" coverage of this super tuesday. the polls have closed in georgia, vermont, virginia. you've seen the results. let's get to nbc's kristen welker with the clinton campaign in miami. what's the latest from there? >> reporter: the crowd erupting into cheers as they have learned secretary clinton has won georgia and virginia. it as strong start for this campaign, hoping to build on its momentum in order to claim victory tonight she needs her entire southern firewall to hold. that includes states like arkansas, alabama, and tennessee.
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still, the campaign says the earliest it could put the race out of reach mathematically is march 15th. that's when florida votes. and one of the reasons she's holding her watch party here. clinton is already starting to set her sights on the general, taking increasing aim at donald trump, criticizing him for being a divisive candidate. democratic strategist and campaign officials are signaling, if clinton makes it to the general and faces trump, she'll stress his divisive and offensive comments and his controversial policies like building a wall. meanwhile, one democratic strategist tells me if clinton makes it to the general and faces off against donald trump, she shouldn't get personal unless and until he does. and also says trump makes democrats nervous because while he energizes the base, he could also bring a lot of new voters into the polls. >> all right, from the democratic side let's move to the republican side. katy tur live with the trump campaign in palm beach. he wins georgia, what are you hearing from there?
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>> reporter: the trump campaign is happy about this win. trump tweeting just now, thank you to georgia. certainly surprise is though to find out he is neck and neck for first place with marco rubio right now. also competing for first in vermont with kasich. now, if you're going to believe the polls, trump was supposed to run away with the majority of the delegates tonight and that could still happen. keep in mind there's been a lot of drama the past few days. trump refusing to immediately condemn the kkk. that got a lot of headlines. rubio has also been going after him hard. but it would take a major upset for him not to win the majority of delegates tonight. regardless the campaign is looking forward to states that vote in the next few days, states that vote in the next few weeks. they're also looking ahead to the general election, promising to go after hillary clinton hard, to bring up her e-mail scandal every single day. they think she is a flawed candidate. to put this in a little bit of perspective, this is a campaign that started out with very little organization, a campaign
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that started out with no backing from the republican establishment, a campaign that still is getting a lot of hostility from the republican establishment, a campaign that was often called a joke. but now donald trump is poised to potentially win big. certainly close races in virginia and vermont have got to be a little worrying for the campaign at this moment. >> all right, katy, thank yous. chuck todd is with us, let's continue that thought. what's happening in virginia right now? trump and rubio vying for first place. does that give anyone pause? >> it's more important for rubio to win than it is for trump to win. trump's going to win a lot tonight. he's the guy if he's not winning he's in second. there may be different first place guys, maybe cruz somewhere in the southwest, maybe rubio in virginia, maybe john kasich in vermont. ultimately it's always trump is the other guy. so look, rubio desperately needs his first victory. virginia is his best shot tonight. they've got to feel very good that we can't call this yet. it does mean that we've got to wait for more sots to come in.
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virginia'sn early counting state, we should know. trump is poised to have a big delegate night and we can't underscore that. the virginia win here is what should really scare ted cruz and marco rubio. because he did it with such ease. >> this is still a period where we're looking at proportional delegates. >> it is except winning isn't everything, but georgia, we think it's going to be a substantial donald trump win, well, that means we're going to have -- he's going to get a lion's share of those delegates and it could mean cruz and rubio barely make the threshold necessary to get delegates and may not even get delegates in every congressional district. we know trump is going to get delegates everywhere. so that's what makes that -- if alabama and arkansas and tennessee look more like georgia than it does in virginia, that's why donald trump could be poised to have a big delegate lead after the night's over. >> clinton getting off to a good start, her firewall strategy looking like it could play out. >> totally holding, i don't understand why bernie sanders didn't play in a state like virginia, very perplexing to me,
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tennessee in particular. he's going for that northern strategy. we'll find out if the strategy works in less than an hour. what's massachusetts look like when polls close? a very important state to bernie sanders and the difference between clintons having a good night and a great night. >> chuck todd, thank you very much. it's rare to see so much importance placed on a race for runner-up. as we do tonight in the battle for republican nomination. both marco rubio and ted cruz see themselves as we've explained as viable alternatives to trump. but do voters? as nbc's gabe gutierrez explains the road to the nomination is a tough one for both candidates. >> reporter: for marco rubio, the slog to second place is steep. >> anyone who votes for donald trump today in these caucuses is voting for hillary clinton in november. >> reporter: today his campaign's hoping for a surprise finish in minnesota. but he could go 0 for 15 so far, possibly failing to win a single primary or caucus. tonight he's trying to crack 20% of the vote in states like georgia to pick up delegates. >> right now the strategy seems
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to be coming in second everywhere. how long is not winning going to be a winning strategy? >> reporter: after a weekend full of personal attacks -- >> he should sue whoever did that to his face -- >> reporter: the florida senator now toning down jokes about donald trump, telling nbc news rubio wants to make a more dire closing argument on super tuesday, calling trump dangerous. >> get him out of here! >> donald trump has been bullying people for a year, insulting people. every now and then a bully needs a taste of his own medicine but that's not going to be what my campaign is. >> trump refuses to denounce the kkk. >> reporter: the pro-rubio super pac spending millions in florida, his home state, ahead of the key primary in two weeks. >> if rubio doesn't win florida his campaign is essentially done. >> reporter: ted cruz betting on a crucial win in his home state of texas. >> the only campaign that is in a position to beat donald trump on super tuesday is our campaign. >> reporter: john kasich banking on winning ohio on march 15th. ben carson ignoring calls to leave the race, instead calling
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the other candidates, urging civility. >> these trump voters believe fundamentally that the country is no longer great. and that it is at its last hour to be great again. >> reporter: with the billionaire front-runner dominating in national polls, the gop is split on any alternative. rubio is running neck and neck with donald trump right now in virginia. now today both trump and cruz called on rubio to drop out of the race if he underperforms tonight. late this afternoon, rubio said that's not going to happen. and he's promising to win his home state of florida here in two weeks. >> gabe gutierrez, let's ping-pong over to the democratic side again. let's go to nbc's casey hunt with the sanders campaign in vermont. he has won his home state, loses in georgia and virginia, what's the mood of the crowd? >> reporter: amazingly the crowd here still has not learned that bernie sanders has won his home state of vermont. of course neither have they
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learned about clinton's wins in those two major states. of course underscoring the fact that this is likely to be an overall rough night for sanders. he himself reiterating when he went to vote today in burlington that he's in this for the long haul, no matter what. potentially all the way to the convention, saying the only 15 states have voted so far and he wants to give more democrats a say in the process. the fund-raising numbers suggest that he may be able to do that. he's raised more than $35 million in the month of february after he asked his online donors to help him process $40 million threshold. they raised over $5 million in 24 hours. and that could help power them further on than other challengers. still they're keeping an eye on oklahoma, feeling good about that. they're watching massachusetts very critically and carefully, it's still very close they believe, and that's going to be a key bellwether for some of these other states against
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hillary clinton. the reality is still they're going to come under enormous pressure for him to ratchet back this campaign or potentially drop out. if he doesn't have a decent showing tonight so that hillary clinton has a chance to run directly against donald trump, lester. >> casey, thank you. we're joined by savannah guthrie. these primaries are taking place against the backdrop of a contentious fight over a vacant seat in the supreme court. the president met with senators, republican senators trying to find a case for filling justice scalia's seat, how high are the sta stakes? >> incredibly high. three branches of government essentially on the ballot. not just the congress and white house but the supreme court as well because of the passing of justice scalia, a once in a generation chance for president obama or his successor to name someone that would tip that ideological balance on some of the most divisive issues. you see that 5-4 split eighther way on the court. that's why the stakes are so high.
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it's lime a game of three-dimensional chess for senate republicans. right now their posture is, don't bother to nominate anyone, president obama, we're not giving a vote, we don't want to meet with them, nothing. however, if they're starting to realize it's trump who may be their nominee, does that change the calculus? do they think, maybe he's not as electable against hillary clinton, do we want to roll the dice that hillary clinton wins and she's the one who gets to appoint the new justice? everything very complicated. and the stakes are very, very high. >> some raise the questions about trump's credentials in terms of his republican credibles where he would go with that choice. >> a lot of people have asked that question. he has said he would appoint a conservative justice. but we've seen in the past how sometimes he'll appoint a justice that doesn't necessarily turn out to be what the president had hoped. >> savannah, we'll be talking with you throughout the evening, thank you. still ahead the name-calling, the schoolyard taunts, the harpest attacks and controversial comments of this presidential race. is this the meanest campaign ever? we're going to take a look. constitute republican race come down to a contested
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convention? you've probably heard that come up from time to time. we'll explain why it could happen and how it could end up choosing the e
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we're back on this super tuesday with the early results continuing to roll in. as this campaign has accelerated voters have watched it descend further and further into the dirt. disrespect and nasty put-downs are par for the course. it's led a lot of people to wonder if this might be the meanest modern campaign we've seen yet. here's abs's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: from the ethnic insults -- >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists -- >> reporter: to schoolyard taunts. >> biggest ears i've ever seen. >> a guy with the worst spray
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tan in america is attacking me. >> reporter: the attacks this year have gone from plain old nasty to flat-out crude. >> little rubio, he's a very nasty guy. >> his hands are the size of someone who's 5'2". you know what they say about men with small hands. >> reporter: even those who least expected got in on it. >> i've got to get this off my chest, donald trump is a jerk. >> it's hard to think of any campaign in modern times where you've had the language and the debate be so raw and angry and getting personal. >> reporter: undeniably it is donald trump, the most controversial candidate in memory, who's driving the tone. >> jeb is a low-energy person. she said he's a [ bleep ]. they're losers. >> reporter: his sharpest tool, twitter. social media rants sparking a new phrase. >> donald is throwing yet another temper tantrum, if you like trumper tantrum. >> reporter: the personal attacks exploded ahead of today's big contest. possibly marco rubio's last
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chance. >> maybe make sure his pants weren't wet. >> little mouth on him. bing bing bing bing bing. >> he's flying around on hair force one and tweeting. >> it's rubio! >> reporter: is it the first modern campaign to hit below the belt? in 1992 it was george h.w. bush attacking bill clinton and al gore on foreign policy. >> my dog millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos. >> reporter: in 2008 about senator obama -- >> this whole thing is the biggest fairy tale i've seen. >> reporter: but this election has hit a new low. >> there has been nastiness in the past but it was over issues, not personal insults against each other. >> reporter: does nasty campaigning work? we'll find out tonight. andrea mitchell, nbc news back in a moment with other news. they've been kept secret till now. private papers seized from osama
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votes are still being counted. the political experts like our chuck todd say there are only two scenarios left on the republican side, either trump will become the nominee or we're headed for a contested convention. something that hasn't happened in a long time. nbc's peter alexander explains. >> reporter: it's a political junkie's dream and a political party's nightmare. a brokered or more accurately contested convention, where no candidates won a majority of delegates before this summer's republican convention. the delegates you keep hearing about -- >> the man that will lead our party to victory --
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>> reporter: yeah, those guys. the republican party will assign more than 2,400 of them. right now donald trump has the momentum but less than 100 of the 1237 delegates needed to secure a simple majority. if trump's showing over the next two weeks isn't as strong as some polls might suggest, it gets tougher for him to reach the magic number he'd need to win the nomination outright. beginning march 15th, states will shift from assigning their delegates based on vote counts to winner take all. which could help a candidate like marco rubio catch up quickly. a win in florida, his home state, is worth 99 delegates. but that still might not be enough without a big bump tonight. the rubio campaign's reportedly already drafted plans to overtake trump in a contested convention. but ted cruz says it won't come to that. >> a contested convention is the great hope of the republican establishment. that's not going to happen. >> reporter: the last one was decades ago where adlai
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stevenson got the nod. >> i accept your nomination -- >> reporter: here's how it works. in the first round, most delegates are bound to vote for the candidate they represent. but if there's no clear winner they keep voting and delegates are freed up to pick whoever they want. that's when things get messy. >> having to bend the will of the majority to back one candidate is a large task. >> reporter: and get this, the party's delegates get to create additional rules one week before the convention. there's nothing to stop them from making it easy for a new name to be added to mix, say the 2012 nominee mitt romney, or house speaker paul ryan. an astounding race now potentially on track for a chaotic conclusion. clearly a contested convention is rare and it's very unlikely it would happen this summer. but with a growing movement inside the republican party to support a nominee other than donald trump, tonight several top republicans tell me the odds of a floor fight this sumner cleveland are getting bigger. lester? >> it's a fascinating
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discussion, peter, thank you. u.s. intelligence has released a treasure trove of documents seized from osama bin laden's compound, including a handwritten will in which he says he's leaving $29 million to be used for waging jihad. also personal letters including one suggesting that bin laden and his aides plan to reach out to news outlets for a media blitz on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. when we come back, tom brokaw joins us with f
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for some final thoughts on this super tuesday we're joined by tom brokaw. tom, historically speaking, looking at the disarray in the republican party, is it a
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one-off or fundamental change in that party? >> we're yet to find out. look at history on the other side. democrats 1968 had lyndon johnson forced to step down, bobby kennedy assassinated in los angeles, dr. king killed as well. riots in chicago. vietnam war is going on. the nomination after a contested convention there as well. 72 is george mcgovern for the democrats playing hard left. he only wins one state. after that younger democrats like bill clinton decided there had to be a third way so they reinvented the party. i would think that people like speaker ryan and others of that generation are now thinking about what do we do with the republican party if trump continues the momentum that he has? i'm going to be looking tonight to see if there are fault lines in what appears to be the juggernaut of donald trump and who at the end of the night is no longer a candidate. >> all right, tom brokaw, thanks very much. that's going to do it for us on a tuesday night, super tuesday.
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we're back on the air throughout the evening with breaking news and the latest results and our primetime special across the country begins at 10:00 eastern, 9:00 central time. i'm lester holt for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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lights, camera, access. >> i think he would have loved the girl more. that was there before this happened. >> the devastating psychological impact of the peeping tom video. i'm billy bush. now erin andrews reveals it goes well beyond her personal relationships. >> i think the thing that's really hit home for me and hurts
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me the worst -- >> i was very nervous, but -- >> gosh. it's so hard. >> what they forgot to say. backstage thank you cams and even more oscar aftermath. plus the secret behind super shapely jennifer lawrence. >> gorgeous. beautiful. early spring cleaning for open remarks in a metaphorical sense as well. >> i just saw everything differently. lights, camera, access. erin andrews breaks down on the stand. welcome to "access hollywood." she resumed her testimony in her $75 million lawsuit saying the marriott hotel in nashville made it possible for michael barrett to video her during the peephole. >> but it came too much for erin to take. >> i left the room because i was embarrassed. the worst part washe

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